Art in space, space in art

How do artists explore space, spatiality and architecture?

Our summer exhibition Art in Space, Space in Art examines spatial themes in art by highlighting a selection of works from the collection of Sara Hildén Foundation. It invites visitors to reflect on art’s spatiality and the diverse ways that space is presented in art. The featured exhibits include many classics as well as new acquisitions and commissions created especially for this exhibition.

Some of the presented works take their cue from a very concrete reference point. The portrayed spaces can be anything from a distant cityscape to a more intimate space. Some works depict architectural fragments, while others portray imaginary or dreamlike settings. Conceptual explorations of spatiality are also featured.

Silja Rantanen (b. 1955) pioneered a new conceptual approach to spatial themes in Finnish art in the 1980s. Her paintings examine alternative ways of presenting three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. In her early paintings, projections and imagined spaces are presented against a monochrome background as if they were objects.

Various aspects of space are explored by the works in the exhibition: dimensions, surfaces, depth and voids. Nina Roos (b.  1956) is intrigued by the surface of the painting as a boundary between two spaces or realities. Through works of exquisite translucency, she explores how a painting is more than just a picture: It not only conveys information, but also exudes physicality and presence. Jussi Niva (b. 1966) pushes the boundaries of painting with three-dimensional works that interact with their surroundings. Niva employs various strategies in his explorations of the essence of painting and ways of seeing.

Antti Oikarinen and Grönlund-Nisunen have created new works especially for this exhibition. An element of surprise is present in the oeuvre of Antti Oikarinen (b. 1974). Hidden space is suggested by his paintings and sculptures in this exhibition, which delve into the concept of what constitutes an artwork and its relationship with the exhibition space. Oikarinen’s ensemble of works form their own exhibition within an exhibition.

A site-specific approach is employed by Grönlund – Nisunen, aka Tommi Grönlund (b. 1967) and Petteri Nisunen (b. 1962), who have created an installation drawing inspiration from the museum’s architecture and views of the landscape framed by the exhibition space.

The exhibition additionally features a selection of works from Sara Hildén Foundation’s extensive collection of kinetic art, which concerns itself with impressions of movement, real motion or its illusion.  The kinetic exhibits interact with visitors and communicate with the surrounding space.

The museum was built on the shores of Lake Näsijärvi in 1979. It was designed by Pekka Ilveskoski’s architectural office, with Asko Rasinperä (1938–1978) as principal designer. For over forty years, the building has provided an inspirational setting for the presentation of art, but the museum will be moving to a larger venue scheduled for completion around 2027–28 in the former Finlayson industrial precinct. The new museum will house both the permanent collection of the Sara Hildén Foundation as well as space for temporary exhibitions.

Artists of the exhibition: Martti Aiha, Francis Bacon, Stephan Balkenhol, Juhana Blomstedt, Otto Boll, Claudio Bravo, Giorgio de Chirico, Jacob Dahlgren, Paul Delvaux, Carolus Enckell, Erik Enroth, Veikko Eskolin-Esk, Lucio Fontana, Grönlund – Nisunen, Eero Hiironen, Chantal Joffe, Dennis Johnson, Howard Kanovitz, Harry Kramer, Matti Kujasalo, Pe Lang, Pentti Lumikangas, Jussi Niva, Antti Oikarinen, Kimmo Ojaniemi, Tamara Piilola, Isabel Quintanilla, Daniel Quintero, Silja Rantanen, Nina Roos, Eino Ruutsalo, George Segal, Jesús Rafael Soto, Yves Tanguy, Gérard Titus-Carmel, Victor Vasarely, Willy Weber, Adam Winner.

Pick up a free audio guide and learn more about the works in the exhibition! There is also an audio guide by architect Riina Sirén about the museum’s architecture and spatial identity.

Silja Rantanen: Impression of Interrelations from a Certain Distance, 1991. Oil on canvas, 220 x 330 cm. Sara Hildén Foundation
Jussi Koivunen.